13 October 2009

Interpol seeks waiver of Australian visa for its cops

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The global police organisation Interpol has begun issuing special passports, similar to those held by diplomats and UN staff, this week to its senior investigators.

The special passports are aimed at allowing Interpol investigators to enter any of the group's 188 member countries without visas, and Pakistan and Ukraine have become the first countries to accept these and Interpol travel without an Australian visa could be very soon behind.

Interpol Secretary-General Ronald K. Noble said during the organization's general assembly in Singapore that he is sure the remaining member countries will also honour these passports.

"We don't come to a country unless we are asked to go. If we are asked to go in an emergency, you want us to go as fast as possible," he said

Australia is one of the 188 Interpol member countries, and Australian visa free travel would mean that some 1000 investigators, heads of Interpol offices around the world and their staff would be able to travel to Australia or Australian territories when needed.

Mr Noble said the new passports will ensure that Interpol investigators, who are of various nationalities, reach the site of a terrorist attack or natural disaster quickly.

Interpol was created in 1923 and is the world's largest international police organization. It facilitates cross-border police co-operation, focusing on combating terrorism, organised crime and the trafficking of drugs, weapons, and humans.

Nobel handed the first Interpol passport to its president Khoo Boon Hui, who is also the Singapore police commissioner.

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